“France considers [Iran] to be a threat to Israel, and it is clearly threatening to the region and the world,” Hollande said upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport yesterday.
“France will not give up or compromise on nuclear proliferation, and as long as we are not completely sure that Iran has given up nuclear weapons, we will continue to maintain our position.”
The comments came as the P5+1 world powers, an alliance including the US and France, sought new negotiations with Iran over its nuclear proliferation. France stonewalled a proposed deal that would have seen an easing of economic sanctions on the Islamic republic, the only one of the P5+1 allies to vote nay.
“France, like Israel, aspires to a stable, moderate Middle East in which the peoples live in peace with each other, in security and mutual respect,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a welcome ceremony for Hollande, calling France a true friend of Israel.
“You, Mr. President, have taken a resolute stance regarding Syria, and in the face of Iran’s relentless attempts to arm itself with nuclear weapons, which would endanger not just Israel, but regimes and countries throughout the Middle East; it would also endanger France, Europe and the entire world.”
Meanwhile, Israeli President Shimon Peres hosted a welcome dinner at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, also thanking Hollande for France’s tough stance on Iran’s nuclear program, which the Jewish state considers an existential threat.
“The citizens of Israel are full of gratitude to France for standing by our side in times of difficulty; we will never forget it,” Peres said.